#PrideMonth: We Are More Than Just Our Sexuality & Sexual Preferences

Atmaj Vyas , 07 Jun 2018
Six-Colour Pride Flag (Image Courtesy: Shutterstock)
Six-Colour Pride Flag (Image Courtesy: Shutterstock)

It’s Pride Month! A month dedicated to the celebration of the LGBTQIA community. That being said, it is also a time to help others understand and learn the struggles and reality that the community faces in India. While the members of the community who fight this battle on a daily basis are the real heroes, we would like to help in their fight. Everyone has a voice and we’re deciding to use ours to talk about things that others may not or shy away from. We want to help educate and show people, that there is so much more to the community than who they choose to be with.

It’s time to open your eyes and your minds.

Feel Good Factor (Image Courtesy: Shutterstock)
Feel Good Factor (Image Courtesy: Shutterstock)

Now, this might sound a lot like a rant, but we’ve realised that it’s important to explain to people why we’re so much more than just our sexuality. Many times, members of the community are judged and stereotyped by others. Sometimes, it feels like it doesn’t matter what skills or qualities you possess, you’re always going to be looked at a certain way and called certain things the second people find out about your sexuality. It’s almost as if nothing you say or do beyond that point matters any more.

The random stereotypes

Stereotyping (Image Courtesy: Shutterstock)
Stereotyping (Image Courtesy: Shutterstock)

As weird as it may sound, there are general characteristics that people tend to associate with members of the community. For example, if people know you’re gay the most common thing that will come your way is people asking for fashion advice. They think all gay men are feminine, all lesbians are manly and bisexuals just want the best of both worlds. Sure, we’d like to think we’re above stereotyping people, unfortunately, a lot of us are actually guilty of the very same thing. Pointing fingers is easy but actually being able to realise that you may also be a part of the problem is also tough. We need to start consciously start making an attempt at trying to educate ourselves and look beyond who people choose to love.

Where do these stereotypes stem from?

Roots (Image Courtesy: Shutterstock)
Roots (Image Courtesy: Shutterstock)

Have you ever wondered where all these strange stereotypes come from? Is it because of the general homophobia people have? Or is it something much deeper routed? While a lot of the stereotypes have come from the lack of understanding and knowledge about the LGBTQIA community, an equal amount of fingers can point towards the trivialisation and portrayal of gay characters in the mainstream media. While there are movies that have tried to depict the complexity and lives of people from the community, it’s been very hard to pull out from the perception that mainstream Bollywood has created. Even though the depiction of gay characters is so unrealistic and exaggerated (for comedic purposes), it has left an almost unbreakable image in people’s mind. We need more people to talk about this and we definitely need more people to bust the myths about the community.

Who we choose to be with doesn’t define us.

Pride March (Image Courtesy: Shutterstock)
Pride March (Image Courtesy: Shutterstock)

We’re humans, just like you or anyone else. Just because we decide to be with someone of the same sex, doesn’t mean you get to look past everything we are. You can’t deny the experience we have, how hard we’ve work and things we’ve achieved. You can’t stand there and pretend like we don’t exist and don’t have feelings. You need to realise that we’re human and deserve to be treated like any other. It’s time our country realised that everyone deserves to be happy and to be loved. Our life isn’t the sum of just a sexual preference, it’s a culmination of our experiences, our struggles and our hard work. Sexuality is just one part that defines who we are.

The way forward

Moving Forward (Image Courtesy: Shutterstock)
Moving Forward (Image Courtesy: Shutterstock)

There are many problems that the community faces as a whole. However, it’s time to start looking towards solutions and figuring out what we can do to solve those problems. Something that could make a major difference, is workplace inclusion. Many organisations have started to make sure that they include members of the community and also educate others. They’ve created safe spaces for people to talk and also professional help. Another place that could benefit with a safe space in schools and colleges. Many kids come to terms with their sexuality much younger now, but they feel as if they can’t express themselves or come out because of the backlash. A safe and encouraging environment needs to be created. Educating people is key to being able to move forward and there needs to be an option for people who wish to learn more and educate themselves about the community. The way forward is definitely a slow and rocky road, but it isn’t impossible.

Respect (Image Courtesy: Shutterstock)
Respect (Image Courtesy: Shutterstock)

Some may think that this topic is trivial, some may hate it and some may love it. In either case, it’s an important message to get out. We stand here not just asking others to be more respectful, we also ask that members of the community do their part in helping spread the message and educate others. It’s an uphill battle and the smallest of steps count towards the bigger goal.

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#HappyPrideMonth

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